The Maumelle Hornets won four conference games including a crucial victory over Subiaco to capture the 4A-4 conference title last week. The Hornets (18-7) finished the conference season with a 13-1 mark and by claiming the championship are the No. 1 seed in this week’s district tournament. With that seeding, Maumelle automatically secured a spot into next week’s regional tournament in Lincoln.
"Last week went as good I could have expected," Maumelle Coach Michael Shook said. "The only thing went wrong was an injury to JB (Minix)."
Minix, a junior guard, dislocated his finger last week and won’t play this week. The hope is he will be back next week or by the state tournament in Lonoke if the Hornets make it.
Maumelle’s first victory last week was a 75-53 triumph over Dardanelle and was led by Minix’s 12 points with Tyshun Robinson adding 11. A 75-40 win over Booneville saw all the Hornets get playing time, and senior and college football signee Kendall Donnerson turned in a double-double performance with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Last Friday’s Subiaco matchup was closer with the Hornets pulling out a 70-58 triumph. Minix was the leading scorer with 18 points, and Donnerson had another double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Ron McCuien and Robinson also chipped in 12 points each. In last Saturday’s senior day 69-38 win against Dover, seniors Don Taggert and Donnerson paced the Hornets with 15 points each, and McCuien added 10.
"What I was really happy about was we were able to change defenses throughout the game," Shook said. "We would go from a man-to-man to different zones. Against Dardanelle and Booneville, we ran seven to eight different defenses."
Though Shook likes to run a man-to-man defense, he realized after scouting some conference opponents that they have trouble with zone defenses. The change-ups make Maumelle harder to prepare for as opponents just can’t ready for a man defense.
The other thing that pleased Shook was the way the Hornets have played since a 77-67 loss to Pottsville. Additionally, he sees the Hornets coming together as a team.
"We’ve played a lot different since we’ve lost to Pottsville," Shook said. "After not doing it the first time, we are beating teams convincingly. A lot of guys of fulfilling their roles, and the team aspect is there."
In the district tournament at Pottsville, Maumelle plays at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and meets the winner of Waldron-Dardanelle.